Meet Jordan Tate, author of Messe Noire

What inspires you to write? 

I first became aware I wanted to be an artist when I was about six years old. My father had shown me the 1976 version of King Kong with Jessica Lange, and this film had a huge impact on me. My father was a huge cinema lover, so thanks to him showing me this film, I began developing stories in my head, stories that I wanted to see. Also, when I discovered the dark side of life and of people in my teenager life, writing and telling stories became a way to escape…I needed to create stories to go through hard moments. I have been writing for more than twenty years. I never stopped ever since.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? 

I didn’t choose it, it chose me, maybe my need to escape. Fantasy allows more creativity.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing? 

I’m a full-time writer, but also a screenwriter, a translator. I write articles too. Exploring several writing styles certainly develops my reactivity, my inspiration, my ability to develop stories and plots more quickly and effectively.

What have you written so far?

I have written several short story anthologies in the past. My first one “Shudders” is a tribute to the most famous monsters in literature and cinema: Dracula, the wolfman, the Devil, ghosts and demons…It also features a heartbreaking story revolving around the elephant man.

My second one “Head in the Clouds” is a romantic and melancholic voyage a dark fantastic and poetic universe that intertwines around destiny, slavery, forgotten fairies, a painter in need of inspiration, the first and last voyage of the Titanic, the hope of a sick child and a woman destroyed by life.

I have also written a Christmas novel titled Six Days Before Christmas, which I’m very partial to because it’s magical, and although quite dark in some aspects, much more merry than what I usually write. It’s the story of a very uncommon stealing since it targets Santa’s Sleigh only six days before Christmas. In the book, Santa’s imps, toys and two orphan kids, join forces in order to save Christmas and children dreams from the dark and Evil queen behind the robbery.

I have also recently finished a book titled Trapped, based on a true story that took place in Marseilles, in a building called Bois Fleury that is run by the local mafia. I plunge my readers in the hell experienced by two retirees and their daughter who see their lives turned upside down when the real estate agency that manages the apartment they rent begin extorting money from them on behalf of the landlord, owner of eight apartments and local mobster hiding in the guise of an illiterate peasant. It’s an uncompromising, painful tale of life from which you will not emerge unscathed. Scary and tragic, especially since one of the tenants (the father) actually died from the harassment he’s been through.

Then, last but not least…Black Mass is a story within the story, revolving around a female journalist, Verity, meeting with a mysterious rock star, Lachlan Alden for an interview in Pere Lachaise cemetery. The interview quickly becomes a tour in one the most haunted places in the world, when Lachlan begins telling her of all the stories of the damned souls that haunt the place.

Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing? 

Depends on the book. But I usually have an outline in mind, then I get carried away by my writing and my characters.

How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. traditional publishing? 

To me that’s the best way to be totally free about what I create, the publication date, the book format, the cover etc. I’m very independent. I like to be in control.

How do you market or promote your books and what strategies (e.g. social media, email, blog tours, etc.) have demonstrated the most success for you?

Social media, blog, word of mouth. Word of mouth is always the best.

Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?

My latest book, Messe Noire or Black Mass, is a horror anthology, six short stories within one big story, following a female journalist named Verity who wants to meet a famous and mysterious rock singer Lachlan Alden for an interview. She meets in the famous cemetery Pere Lachaise in Paris, where he tells her of all the damned souls who haunt the place.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book? 

I was watching a show revolving around supernatural, which is a theme I love, and they were talking about the ghosts of Pere Lachaise. I wasn’t planning to write a new book at this time, then I became fascinated with the subject and said I’m gonna write a book about this place and it will be titled “Black mass.” I had a precise vision of it.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? 

I love them all, but I have a thing for Paola, the soap maker. She’s gone through a lot, grew up with an abusive mother, so much that she was convinced she was cursed, doomed from the start. Everything she does, although horrible, she does it out of love, to protect her son.

Who is your least favorite character and why? 

I don’t have any. If I had one, I would have delete them from the start. I have to be somewhat in love with my characters to go on my writing journey with them.

Do you listen or talk to your characters? 

Yes a lot, and they talk to me, even at night. That’s why I always keep a notebook by my bed.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast? 

Adrien Brody as Lachlan, enigmatic and magnetic character. Or Norman Reedus. I have no precise idea for Verity, but without spoiling too much we would need a woman that looks both fragile and dangerous…So maybe Jessica Chastain or Bryce Dallas Howard. I would definitely cast Jennifer Tilly as Paola, the soap maker, and now you make me want to make the film (lol).

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? 

I was a little sad and melancholic when I finished writing it. I always am when I have to say goodbye to my characters. I think most writers do.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? 

Everything revolving around the cemetery. I love Paris, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Actually there are two places I often talk about in my writing, whether in my scripts or books: Paris and New York. My two favorite spots in the world.

What is your next project? 

A novel titled White Gold and it’s very different from Black Mass. It will be a thriller, an adventure story and a love story. It mainly revolves around illegal ivory trade, animal protection, especially elephants protection. I’m a huge animal lover, always have been, I wanted to pay tribute to them, their intelligence and their beauty, into a book.

What role does research play in your writing? 

It’s the biggest part actually, the foundations of it all…that’s when I create my plot, my characters. That’s also my favorite part when working on a new project.

What do you like to read in your free time? 

I don’t have much free time at the moment, so I’m mostly reading articles about the subject I’m working on. At the moment it’s all about elephants and ivory trade. But as I’m writing mostly horror and strong themes, I actually like to read uplifting Christmas tales during my free time.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? 

I would protect those I love from death and illness. I would end homelessness, and you know this very unfair gape between rich and poor, this unbearable economic inequality. Every human being who was born on that planet should have a roof over their head without having to earn it, after all, we never asked to come into this world. And of course I would end animal abuse of all kinds and animal suffering. As Gandhi said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? 

Stephen King for sure. I started reading his novels when I was a teenager. Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley are also some of my favorite authors, and the Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is my favorite book. I believe they enable me to explore my dark side a little more…

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be? 

Acting. I need to create and become someone else. I can’t live without it. I need to explore people’s souls, stories. I believe writing and acting can be very complementary, as I often find myself acting when I’m writing.

Tell us something unique about you. 

I have premonitory dreams. It’s quite interesting, even though I can not always explain them properly, which can be quite distressing sometimes. I often base my stories and some scenes on the dreams I had.

Want to learn more about Jordan and buy Messe Noire?

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